Shadeen Samuels’ Future Will Depend A Lot On Team Fit

This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Lynx front office.

Shadeen Samuels: 6’0, F, Seton Hall University

College Stats in 2019-20:

27 games, 30.4 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 55.8 FG%, 32.7 3P%, 73.6 FT%

Where she’ll go:

Samuels won’t be taken in the first round given the amount of talented small forwards in this year’s draft, but it’s likely she’ll be taken early in the second round. She’ll probably be off the board by the time the Lynx make their second selection with the No. 16 overall pick.

The Rundown:

There was a tremendous amount of pressure on Samuels as she entered her final season at Seton Hall.

The 2018-19 Big East scoring champion was named the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year in October and was the only player on Seton Hall’s roster entering her fourth season with the Pirates.

The Pirates recorded their best season since 2015-16 under Samuels’ guidance, but the senior forward’s personal stats took a step backwards.

If being named the Big East’s Preseason Player of the Year didn’t get the point across, just know that Samuels had a breakout junior year. Samuels averaged 18.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and shot 54.5% from the field as a junior.

Samuels’ few statistical improvements were quite minuscule this past season. She averaged 0.02 more assists as a senior and improved her field goal percentage to 55.8%, though she attempted 118 fewer shots.

Looking at Samuels’ senior campaign on its own does it more justice, however. Shooting 55.8% from the field is nothing to scoff at, and she recorded double-doubles in two of her final five games with the Pirates, scoring in double figures in all five. She also finished as the Pirates’ leading scorer and rebounder and came in second in total assists after Lauren Park-Lane.

It’s possible Samuels could return to the player she was as a junior once her role is lessened on her future WNBA team. Yet, it’s somewhat difficult to imagine Samuels’ game translating well in the pros.

She’s a career 32.4% 3-point shooter and attempted 38 fewer 3s her senior season than her junior year. Most WNBA forwards measuring 6’0 need to have an outside presence to pose a threat against opposing forwards — the majority of whom will be taller than her.

Samuels’ athleticism won’t be able to make up for what she lacks in outside shooting and inside presence. She’ll need to improve in either area to make it against the best of the best.